Pucker up! All about sour cherries

In season from June to August, sour cherries are a local Canadian treat chock full of nutrition, history and lore.

How to enjoy sour cherries
Sour cherry concentrate shows promising results for improving cardiovascular health in animal trials, and is a low glycemic food, so it's recommended for diabetics. But ladies, your cocktail with the Maraschino cherry garnish does not count as health food. Maraschinos are made from sweet cherries soaked in sugar syrup; basically candy with a stem. For a health boost, reach for foods containing dried, frozen, or processed sour cherries or fill up with a glass of pure sour cherry juice.

Sweet ways to get your daily cherry dose
Honey Pie Hives and Herbals Sour Cherry Honey, (honeypie.ca)
This small-town business makes a delicious, creamy, non-pasteurised honey with organic sour cherries. Try that on your morning muffin for an extra dose of goodness. Honey Pie is located in Ontario, but check out your local honey producers for similar products from your own region.

Harvest Song Artisanal Preserves Sour Cherry Jam, $13/536 g (harvestsongventures.com)
From the Ararat Valley in Armenia, Harvest Song Artisanal Preserves bottles a fantastic sour cherry jam with a tart, grown-up flavour that's perfect with charcuterie and cheeses. Available from fine food shops or online at epicureal.com

President's Choice Sour Cherry Juice
President's Choice blends tart sour cherry juice with apple, pear, and aronia juices. Aronia is a dark blue berry native to South America, popular in Eastern Europe, and also extremely high in antioxidants.

Sour Cherry Concentrates and Capsules
The medicinal power of sour cherries is so convincing that some folks are selling a concentrated version of the good stuff in liquid and even capsule form.

Cherry Lane, $21.50/1 L (cherrylane.net) 
A cherry producer in Vineland, Ontario, Cherry Lane sells concentrated sour cherry juice online to assist in arthritis, gout and headaches.

Immunotec Cherry Concentrate, $37.71/bottle (immunotec.com)
Health food company Immunotec has turned cherry goodness into a sleep aid, sourcing out the Montmorency tart cherry for their cherry juice as they claim it's one of the world's best sources of melatonin - a natural hormone that helps you sleep. Check out your local health food and supplements shops for sour cherry capsules too.

Cherry Chomper, $15.50 (talismandesigns.com)
Pop a cherry into the mouth of this Cherry Chomper and push down on his head. The pit falls into the clear plastic collection "tummy" below.

Did You Know...
Michigan cherry farmer Herb Teichman is credited with creating The Cherry Pit Spit in 1974. It started as a local get-together of neighbours, and is now an international competition recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records. Each July hundreds of folks from around the globe gather in Eau Claire, Michigan to try and beat the current record-holding spit of 95', 9".  Yes, that's 95 feet and 9 inches. Hard to imagine, isn't it?

Read more:
Photo gallery: Sweet ways to enjoy sour cherries
Menu: Sour cherry recipes
Menu: Cherry jubilee

Check out:
CanadianLiving.com Food
CanadianLiving.com Nutrition
CanadianLiving.com Cooking School

Page 2 of 2 -- Don't know the difference between sour and sweet cherries? Check out page 1 for the details.

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This article is featured on Your seasonal food guide: Cherries